Why Are Circular Saws So Loud?


Circular Saws may be loud, but they have great features that are beneficial in woodworking; But one of the most common questions for beginners is ‘why Circular Saws are so loud’?

Most Circular Saws are loud because it uses a brush-type universal motor. It is a comprehensive engine that runs with either AC or DC electric power. They produce gear train noise because the brush rubs on the slotted armature which is extremely noisy. So, the loud sound comes from the friction inside the machine every time the circular saw cuts a material.

Can you silence a circular saw? Find out the answer as you read along. But first, let’s get to know some interesting facts about Circular Saws.

How Loud is a Circular Saw?

A circular saw can operate at a noise level of 110 decibels. It’s noisier than moving subway trains of about 90 decibels and a bit closer to race car noise of approximately 130 decibels. It merely means that wearing protective ear gear is a must when using a circular saw.


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Why Circular Saws Have Noisy Universal Motors?

Most manufacturers choose universal motors because they are smaller and lighter than induction motors. Can you imagine maneuvering a Circular Saw as big as a fridge? It seems doable but challenging. These induction motors are usually for refrigerators, and it’s the primary reason why freezers are big. 

“A 3/4 hp induction motor that runs 1075 to 3450 RPM has a dimension of about 6″ long, 6″ diameter and weighs about 19 pounds. Meanwhile, a universal motor with 3/4 horsepower output has a size reduction to about 6″ long, 3″ diameter and a weight decline of greater than 85% – let’s not forget the speed increase of about 15,000 RPM.”

According to AMETEK Specialty Motors

That’s why it makes sense why saw manufacturers prefer Universal Motors over Induction Machines. The weight and size differences are significant factors. Right now, these two machines are the only options they have when it comes to power and affordability.




How to Make Power Tools Quieter?

With universal motors, there’s no way that you can remove the noise they produce. The best option that you can do is to wear soundproof protective ear gear to make power tools a bit quieter. The friction between the moving blade and the wood whenever you cut also creates another sound.

1. Use Vibration Dampener 

Adding vibration dampeners or noise reduction shoulders made of copper helps in reducing operational vibration noise. It reduces vibration and associated noise, but be aware that dampeners can lower Circular saw’s ability to cut in depth.

2. Use the Right Blade

Blades with a perfectly flat plate and well ground teeth makes a difference. For example, Carbide tipped saw blades can create less vibration resulting in lower associated noises. For further guidance, here are some of the standard modules for a Circular saw:

  • High-speed steel blades. They are harder, sharper, and longer which causes less noise.
  • Carbide-tipped blades. They are the most expensive blades but stay sharp longer than steel or high-speed steel.
  • Tile-cutting blades. They are for cutting ceramic tile, and almost have the same characteristics as High-speed steel blades.
  • Masonry blades. These are from abrasive material, which is perfect for cutting concrete, brick, cinder block, and other masonry materials.

3. The Blade’s Teeth

The design of the blade’s teeth can reduce the sound of friction wherein the teeth should be more extensive than the plate. Technically, Circular saws with more teeth and smaller gullets produce less noise. The sharpness and cleanliness of the blade can make a difference too.




4. Change the Way You Cut Your Wood

Cutting wood too fast or at a bigger size increases the noise levels. The best way is to reduce your material smoothly and equally to lessen the noise. It may mean that you have to do multiple passes to cut your wood, especially if it has a thick width.

What is the Best Size for a Circular Saw?

When it comes to the body, smaller is better because of portability. For the blade, 7 1/4 inches is the most common size in cutting 2-inch wood at a 45-degree angle in a single pass. Meanwhile, 5 3/8 inches is ideal for reducing the same size lumber in a single pass. You have to cut it at a 90-degree angle or at a 45-degree angle for two passes.

Can Circular Saws Affect Your Hearing?

As for the TPI (tooth-per-inch) rate, everything from 14 to 120 teeth is ideal. To get the cleanest cut, get the appropriate TPI that corresponds to the thickness of the wood. Lower TPI (tooth-per-inch) cuts faster, but the quality is a bit rougher. On the other hand, higher TPI cuts slower and yields better quality.




Using a Circular Saw in cutting can create an enormous amount of noise, especially in a closed working area. The maximum noise level it can reach is approximately 120 decibels, which is as loud as a sports crowd, rock concert, or loud symphony. It is close to the 150-decibel mark of Eardrum rupture.

So, it has adverse effects on you. Such loud noise can affect lower efficiency, cause headaches, and lose your hearing for prolonged exposure. It’s inevitable to use Circular Saws in woodworking, but these harmful effects are the reason why you should wear hearing protection whenever cutting with any circular saw. Remember, prevention is the best cure.

What are The Types of Circular Saws? Are they All Loud?

There are two main Circular Saw types. They vary in use, motor capacity, size, and purpose. Regardless, both kinds are loud since they run universal motors.

  • Sidewinder or Inline Saws. These are the most standard circular saws. They are more compact and more lightweight. It is suitable for most circular saw applications. Meanwhile, its universal motor is at the same axis along its blade.
  • Worm Drive Saws. They are longer and entirely less noisy than Sidewinder. Ideal for heavy-duty applications because the motor has gears that increase the energy shifted to the blade. Its universal engine is at a right angle to the saw blade.

Are Both Cordless and Corded Circular Saws Loud?

Since most of them still use universal motors, then, both cordless and corded circular saws are loud. If you’re going to ask which one is a better option, it all depends on your preference. Here are some more comparisons between the two kinds of circular saws.




  • Portability. Cordless Circular Saws win. There’s no arguing on this since you can use them whenever and wherever you want for as long as they are fully charged.
  • Power. Cordless Circular Saws can never provide the kind of power a wall current can produce. The longer you use them means more battery drainage, resulting in lower energy. Corded Circular Saws are winners for they are more powerful regardless of longevity in use.
  • Price. Both kinds of saws are almost equal, so always choose based on what you need. For mobility, a cordless is what you need. For consistent power, a corded circular saw is a better option.
  • Use. Cordless saws are best in cutting wood due to its limitations in its batteries. On the other hand. Corded saws can cut through sturdy materials like masonry, steel, and continuous woodcutting.
  • Size. Cordless saws usually range in size from 5-3/8 to 6-1/2 inches. Meanwhile, most corded saws are 7-1/4 inches. Hence, the latter one is quite bigger.

For more information about cordless saws, click here.

Guidelines Before Using a Circular Saw

There are some basic principles and guidelines before using a circular saw. A circular saw ensures a smooth and clean cut. Additionally, it ensures a safer working station. Here are the top three rules and guidelines that you need to remember whenever holding a Circular Saw:

  • Buy a Good Quality Circular Saw. Buy a circular saw that has excellent performance and quality. One of the factors to consider is buying superb blades like thin-kerf, carbide-tipped for faster and sharper cutting.
  • Wear Protective Gears and Clothes. Circular Saw can be destructive and harmful, especially if mishandled. Always make sure to protect your eyes for specks of dust, hands for avoiding getting tangled on the circular saw, and ears for loud noise exposure.
  • If Possible, Always Hold Your Circular Saw with Two Hands. Circular Saws are powerful machines, so holding your circular saw with two hands will give you better control in getting that cut that you need. Avoid putting your hands anywhere near the blade.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is a Circular Saw?

A circular saw is a powerful and handy tool for cutting different materials like wood, metal, etc., Make sure that you always use the appropriate blade.

Can I Use a Bigger Blade on My Circular Saw?

There should be no issue in using a bigger blade, but make sure that the circular saw can handle the size of it because it may under power the saw causing it to overheat. Remember, larger blade diameter requires more power from the saw’s motor to provide accurate cutting power.

How Many Teeth Should a Circular Saw Blade Have?

It depends on your material, and everything from 14 to 120 teeth is a great choice. Usually, 60 to 80 teeth are enough to cut plywood, while MDF and other hardwood require 90 to 120 TPI for a clean cut.

How to use a Circular saw Without a Table?

If you don’t have a table yet, you need a clamp to hold your material in place on any flat surface. Never hold the wood by your bare hand, while using the Circular saw with your other free hand.

Final Words

A Circular Saw is one of the potent tools in cutting any material. So, precautionary measures are essential before using it. They are both dangerous and loud because of the universal motor attached. 

There’s no way to eliminate the noise that Circular saws produce entirely. It’s part of their mechanism and caused by friction inside the machine, and whenever the blade touches the material in cutting.

So, you always have to wear protective sets of gear like goggles, noise cancellation earbuds, protective hand gloves, and woodworking apron whenever you use a circular saw – as well as other related power tools.


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